USA airline worker steals plane, takes it for flight before crashing it

Alicia Cross
August 14, 2018

Russell was referred to as "Rich" by air traffic controllers, and some of his friends referred to him as "Beebo".

"This is probably jail time for life, huh?" he later asks, according to a recording provided by the Seattle Times.

Later the man said: "I've got a lot of people that care about me".

"I was thinking, like, I'm going to have this moment of serenity, take in all the sights". He told the air-traffic controller he didn't need much help flying because he had played video games.

The plane eventually crashed on sparsely populated Ketron Island, starting a fire in the woods and killing Russell.

The 29-year-old man, who has not been named, was suicidal and appeared to have acted alone, according to the Pierce County Sheriff's Department, which said the employee was believed to have been killed in the crash.

Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff's Office, credited the fighter jet pilots with keeping "people on the ground safe".

Officials said the plane later crashed into the sea.

The aircraft was stolen about 8 p.m. Alaska Airlines said it was in a "maintenance position" and not scheduled for a passenger flight. He was only identified as an employee for Horizon Air, in a statement by Alaska Air Group CEO Brad Tilden.

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Per CNN, the man also had some freakish and heartbreaking radio correspondence from the cockpit before the 76-seat Horizon Air turboprop went down.

The remains are nearly certainly those of 29-year-old Russell, from Sumner, Washington.

Federal investigators have recovered the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder.

Airport employees undergo background checks that involve sorting through 10 years' worth of criminal records, and rechecking the records every two years, she said. According to BuzzFeed, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and airline officials did not identify Russell, but said he joined Horizon Air in February 2015, which matched information listed on his LinkedIn page.

"It may seem hard for those watching at home to believe, but Beebo was a warm, compassionate man", the family said in a statement. He died when the plane crashed after a 90 minutes "joy ride".

The local sheriff's department said on Twitter that either doing stunts "or lack of flying skills" caused the crash.

"Okay this insane. A pilot on the plane in front of us just went rogue and took off on an empty plane bypassing orders from the tower", tweeted Ben Schaechter, a passenger on an airplane that was taxiing to take off before the incident. No one was hurt on the ground, authorities said.

Ostrower said it is also unbelievable that someone without a pilot's license figured out how to taxi a plane going on an hour-long joy ride.

"It was unfathomable. It was something out of a movie", he told the newspaper.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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